A little intro about Jamie Beck: Jamie and I went to high school together, but she was a year younger than I was. Still, we managed to become friends, and I remember when I graduated, I was really sad to say good-bye to her. She is a genuine person, who is not only very smart and successful in everything she has pursued in life, but she has a heart of gold, and she has this amazing passion for life and the desire to live it to the fullest.
In this blog, Jamie writes about the courage it takes to go out and grab the life you want by taking steps to make things happen, and to change things that aren’t making you truly happy. It is inspiring and will truly motivate anyone to think about doing what he or she needs to have that “Big” life. SOOOOOOOO worth the read!
Living A “Big” Life by Jamie Beck
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage ~ Anaïs Nin
The truth of this quote becomes more evident with each passing year. Courage is a topic I think about often lately. I’m not speaking of the kind of invincibility young adults feel, but of the fortitude to live an authentic life.
As a mother, I’m aware of the pressure my kids feel to conform – to meet the expectations of others. In response, I habitually counsel them to follow their own conscience, pursue their own dreams, and celebrate their unique spirit. Yet, in my own life, I often have difficulty adhering to those same edicts. Even at forty-something, it’s still “scary” to step outside the lines of “normal” despite my internal urge to do so.
And I don’t think I’m alone. Why? Because I hear whispers of internal restlessness in others when they are overwhelmed from over-committing to volunteer obligations, feel thoroughly dissatisfied by the state of their romantic relationship, are angered by the insensitivity of a friend, or are frustrated by an unfulfilling career. Most of these problems can be fixed, but it takes courage to say no to a friend who’s asking you to join another committee, to confront your lover and seek counseling, to speak up for yourself when you’ve been wronged, and to risk change by pursuing a new career.
Finding the mettle to make oneself vulnerable to the criticism and judgment of others by taking action or voicing an opinion, especially an unpopular one, is no easy feat. But I don’t want to waste whatever time I have left being inauthentic just to please others. It is, after all, my one and only life.
When I decided to try to write a romance novel, I didn’t tell anyone. I feared being snickered at (behind closed doors, of course), being unable to complete one, and so on. But the process excited me. I looked forward to time alone with my plot and characters. Upon completion, my sense of accomplishment was greater than any I’d previously known because, unlike my former academic and career achievements, writing that book was a long-held, deeply personal passion I’d finally pursued.
It doesn’t matter that I haven’t found an agent or publisher yet, or that I’m an amoeba in a sea of romance authors – I’m living my dream. And now I’m writing more, learning about social media, and putting myself “out there” on this blog. It’s simultaneously terrifying and thrilling. My life feels richer and fuller even though, by many measures, it hasn’t changed at all. This internal exhilaration is something I wish for my kids, my husband, and everyone else I love, to experience.
I think the key to living a “big” life has nothing to do with acquiring money, fame, or accolades from others. Living well simply requires understanding yourself and who you want to be, and then making life choices based on that knowledge. Discovering yourself takes time and “quiet,” two things that are hard to find in modern life. But in the stillness of the night, when you aren’t quite asleep, let your dreams unfold and listen to what your heart is telling you to do. Stifle the fear holding you back and chase your passions (personal and professional). Even when you stumble, you won’t be sorry.
To read Jamie’s Blog, visit: www.jamiebeck.com. And PS, wait till her novel comes out!! It will be “Big!”
One last thing. My funniest memory of Jamie in high school: One night, we were at this guy’s house, and the three of us were just sitting there talking. It was really late at night. His mother came downstairs in her night gown, glared at the two of us with a look that still scares the crap out of me to think about to this day, pointed to the door and said, “Out!” We still laugh about that today!